Hot Rize PhotoThe eclectic Colorado progressive bluegrass band Hot Rize also played traditional bluegrass, jazz, and rock. They came together in 1976 and were named after the secret ingredient of Martha White Self-Rising Flour, the product Flatt & Scruggs had promoted early in their careers. The bandmembers were Tim O'Brien on lead and harmony vocals, mandolin, and fiddle; Pete Wernick on banjo and harmony vocals; and Charles Sawtelle on bass guitar, guitar, harmonies, and lead vocals. Mike Scap departed in 1976 and was replaced by bass player, guitarist, and vocalist Nick Forster, who also became the group's MC. Hot Rize recorded its self-titled debut album, a blend of traditional and new material, in 1979. Their second album, Radio Boogie, came out in 1981.

A year later, their alter ego Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, a parody of hardcore '50s country music, recorded their own album, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. In 1984, Hot Rize released a concert album largely comprised of traditional hits and in 1985 released Traditional Ties. In 1991 another Red Knuckles album, Shades of the Past, followed. Their final album, Take It Home, came out in 1992; O'Brien and Wernick went on to successful solo careers, while Forster went on to executive produce the syndicated radio variety show Etown. Sawtelle passed away in March 1999 after a two-year fight with leukemia. ~ Johnny Loftus, All Music Guide